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“Nothing Great Is Done Suddenly”

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The ceremony held in the Vatican gardens in the presence of Pope Francis, in which a naked and pregnant woman was venerated, with ritual dances typical of the pagan Amazonian peoples, had a huge worldwide impact.

No wonder. How should the faithful understand such religious syncretism? How can one understand Pope Francis’ approval of all that took place? How to explain the silence of almost all high- and low-ranking clergy facing these enormities?

These questions have been asked in every way, shape, and form, and especially by conservative Catholic laity around the world.

One aspect, however, does not seem to have been duly underlined. It is the principle that nothing great is done suddenly. “Nec sumus fit repentes,” as the ancient Greeks already used to say. If this principle applies to all things, it applies a fortiori to the immense transformation sustained by Catholic doctrine and liturgy.

Let us give an example of how this revolution “germinated” among religious Congregations in Chile without any punishment by any bishop.

The following text is part of the book, From Liberation Theology to Ecofeminist Theology, sent to the entire Latin American Episcopate, including the then Archbishop of Buenos Aires, Cardinal Bergoglio.

We received very few responses from the recipients. None from Buenos Aires.

Let us go to the text.

VII - Ecofeminist Theology Infiltrates Religious Congregations

CONFERRE and its Gender Department

As we saw, the Conference of Religious of Chile (CONFERRE) brings together almost all of the male and female congregations in the country. The enormous capacity for action of these orders can be easily understood, both because they reach the entire national territory and are dedicated to the most diverse tasks of apostolate and beneficence. Also, they have the sympathy and good reception of the mostly Catholic population, which can only see their charitable action under positive light.

If the religious orders are well-oriented, the sum of these factors causes their influence to have a decisive weight for the good of the country. Conversely, that influence is extremely harmful if it clashes with Catholic teaching.

So we need to know what CONFERRE thinks about the ecofeminist theology supported by the aforementioned religious publications, Con-spirando and Pastoral Popular. In so doing, we can gauge the degree of contamination that this theological virus has managed to spread in the vast organism of the religious congregations operating in Chile.

Let us hear it straight from the horse’s mouth — CONFERRE itself, and more specifically its mouthpiece magazine, Testimonio:

To justify the name “Gender Department,” the website of the Confederation of Religious states: “CONFERRE’s Women’s Department has operated since 1998 as a sector within the Department of Justice and Peace. As of 2002, it was renamed Gender Department because of a process of reflection that considered this concept more comprehensive and with possibilities of projection. … The topic of women, and more recently the gender perspective, challenge us from socio-cultural and theological pastoral spaces so that ignoring it is neither possible nor advisable if Chilean religious life is to communicate the message of salvation with the women and men of … It is necessary to raise people’s awareness of the path that remains to take so the Kingdom of God becomes visible with the testimony of a Church in which women and men share equally.[1]

Comment: Any unsuspecting reader could consider these CONFERRE statements to be inspired by a legitimate intention to end injustices towards women. However, from the “gender perspective,” any inequality between the roles and missions of men and women are “injustices.”[2]

 Now, since theirmissions and roles in the Church are clearly defined as unequal — the priesthood, the bishop’s diocesan authority and the supreme power of the Pope are positions reserved exclusively for men – from the “Gender perspective” this necessarily constitutes “injustice, marginalization and exploitation” that must end.

For this reason, when CONFERRE states in its magazine the need to “create awareness of the path that remains to take so the Kingdom of God becomes visible with the testimony of a Church in which women and men share equally,” is saying that men and women religious should be aware that these and other inequalities are “injustices,” and they must fight to end them in order to have “equality between women and men.”

“Rebuild power based on egalitarian relationships”

The Spaniard Pilar Yuste, who has dedicated herself to spreading this ecofeminist thought within the Church in her country, clearly explains what that means. “(…) Something is moving from the foundations among women who form an active part in the Church, something unstoppable and with no turning back, but which, at the same time, is not free from pain and especially from the struggle. At the Conference [World Ecumenical Conference for Women Ordination, Dublin 2001), … the question of priesthood is closely linked to the question of power in the Church, and that is why it generates so much resistance … One of the most moving moments was when Joan Chittister, an American Benedictine, took the floor to share her presentation after all the harassment she and her Congregation suffered for their participation in this Conference.”[3]

Pilar Yuste, Psychologist and Theologian. Member of “Women and Theology,” of Madrid, and of the Women’s Studies Forum

For its part, the magazine Testimonio clarifies its thinking in the issue devoted to gender: “…when we talk about gender, we are not simply talking about women’s claims but raising the broader issue of relationships and powers to achieve rebuilding power in an egalitarian fraternal relationship … what makes it difficult for human beings to be in communion (is) our affection for one’s own version, whether it is called ‘patriarchy’ or ‘androcentrism’… ”[4]

So there is no doubt about the egalitarian nature of this relationship of powers, the religious Lucia Weiller, IDP, professor of Sacred Scripture and theologian of the Latin American and Caribbean Confederation of Men and Women Religious (CLAR), writes in the same issue: “… While I was writing this article for the magazine Testimonio and passionate about this subject, there appeared a letter from the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith addressed to the bishops of the Catholic Church ‘on the collaboration of men and women in the Church and the world.’ I did not find in it the same passion and enthusiasm I felt when I met the Good News of Jesus … ”[5]

Commentary: According to Weiler, the instructions of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith lack the egalitarian tone that she finds in the “Good News of Jesus.” In other words, to her, the Vatican Congregation departs from the Gospel. And if it departs from the Gospel, how can it be obeyed? A threat of rebellion by religious who have been introduced to this “gender perspective” hovers in the air.[6]

“Gender and Spirituality”

The issues and approaches discussed in Testimonio, the official mouthpiece of Chile’s religious, are not much different from the radically egalitarian goals we have already seen in the ecofeminist magazine Con-spirando. Below we reproduce an enlightening article by Testimonio dedicated to “Gender and Spirituality.” It repeats postulates similar to those of the ecofeminist publication.

On male authority: “Females were disqualified with different arguments depending on the historical moment. One of the earliest, which had more sequels, demanded that women renounce motherhood, the most typical characteristic of their sex if they wanted to attain union with God. … They (men) distributed the body of Christ, and they compensated for that impossibility by giving theirs.”

The body as the center of theological reflection: “… Today there is a feminine desire to give priority to the body in the path of God … Hence, feminine liturgies give great importance to postures … we must keep our feet free of ties to be able to dance … Women pray in a circle because that way, hierarchies are not marked. They make healing gestures, give kisses of fraternity … All this is accompanied by elements that arouse the attraction of the senses … we have to recover smell, taste, and touch. They are the senses that connect with the first phase of life.”[7]

Marian devotion: “… much of Marian spirituality comes from the need to place female figures to worship. We cannot remain reduced to the biblical Mary since we lose with it many intuitions and much of spirituality … That Mary that encompasses all the Great Mother Goddesses of the Neolithic, the goddesses of the Roman Empire, those of the American peoples, the black goddesses of fertility … We must lose the fear of venerating in Mary these cosmological aspects that are born outside of Christianity… ”

The immanent character of God: “… A new and positive assessment of the matter allows women to feel called to pray to an immanent God … A being who weaves the cane that allows the warping of the cosmos among themselves … Some Women have seen the world as the body of God and invite us to find God in all creation. That is why sacred spaces do not prevail because all space is sacred. Their liturgies seek the outdoors and to bring the elements of the cosmos to memory…”[8]

Comment: As you can see, the doctrinal similarities between CONFERRE’s publication, Testimonio” and that of the ecofeminists, Con-spirando are so evident that you seem to be hearing the same preaching. Both publications are profoundly and equally opposed to the traditional doctrine of the Church. In Testimonio, “God” is still written in capital letters, but they give Him the same immanent character as in Con-spirando magazine.

The article by the professor of theology of the University of Comillas, published in Testimonio, blasphemes by calling the host an “insipid wafer” because women are not the ones governing the Church: “It would be the case to ask if the evolution of the Lord’s Supper towards an insipid wafer is not related to the feminine absence from Church government.”[9]

 

Comment: To assess the gravity of these statements, it is important to remember that the Testimonio magazine is intended for the Religious Congregations of Chile and is the only magazine that serves as their mouthpiece.

As the reader can see, “nec sumus fit repentes.” We will continue with the topic.

  • [1] Cf. http://www.conferre.cl/social/genero/presentacion.html.  Conferre’s magazine, Testimonio, devotes an entire issue to the “gender perspective” topic (No. 205, September/October 2004).
  • [2] Later we will see the statements of the Gender Department Director, the Divine Providence religious, Mother Monica Campillay. Her statements on the need to end hierarchies within the Catholic Church are explicit enough to dispense with any comments.
  • [3] Cf. Interview with Pilar Yuste, member of Madrid’s Mujeres y Teología. www.todosuno.org/teohablamosconpilaryuste.htm
  • [4] Cf. Testimonio, no. 205, September/October 2004, p. 3, emphasis ours.
  • [5] Cf. Op. cit. Testimonio, no. 205 p. 32.
  • [6]  Under the Pontificate of Paul VI, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith issued a statement on the ordination of women, which reads, in part:The practice of the Church therefore has a normative character: in the fact of conferring priestly ordination only on men, it is a question of unbroken tradition throughout the history of the Church, universal in the East and in the West, and alert to repress abuses immediately. This norm, based on Christ’s example, has been and is still observed because it is considered to conform to God’s plan for his Church.” (Cf. H.H. Paul VI, Inter insigniores, Declaraion on the Question of the Admission of Women to the Ministerial Priesthood, Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, October 15, 1976). http://www.vatican.va/roman_curia/congregations/cfaith/documents/rc_con_cfaith_doc_19761015_inter-insigniores_en.html
  • [7] (Cf. Op. cit., Testimonio, pp. 69-70).
  • [8] Cf. Op. cit., Testimonio, “Género y espiritualidad,” Isabel Gómez Acebo, Theologian – Professor of Theology at the University of Comillas, Spain, pp. 65-66.
  • [9] Cf. Op. cit. Testimonio, p. 71.
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